DuoSkin: On-Skin Interface

Today, fashion and technology are becoming one and the same as new devices are made. Right now there are clothing and accessories created to work with smartphones; some are made with eco friendly fabrics such as recycled bottles, and others help improve everyday life. With this continuing trend it would only make sense that new technology could be applied to our skin. DuoSkin temporary tattoos have finally made this possible.

Created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) PhD student, Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, these tattoos were a response to the growing trend of metallic temporary tattoos as jewelry. As a result, she invented tattoos that could create interfaces on their skin. All that is done to make the tattoos function are surface electronics which are attached to the conductive material the tattoos are made of: gold leaf. Finding the right conductive material was noted as one of the challenges when it came to making it. Similar inventions used very expensive material that is normally used for medicine. Gold leaf was used due to being affordable, durable, and skin friendly.

Kao has also noted that there are currently three classes of devices for her project. These include input devices that can make skin similar to a touch screen, output display that can change colors depending on temperature and emotions, and a communication device so anyone can read data at any time. What we really love is how Kao wants to improve on the aesthetic by adding in a more fashionable touch such as LED lights. Also, due to Kao being from Taiwan, she knows that their culture of affordable cosmetics and fashion can drive people to edit their appearance anyway they want to. These tattoos help drive that vision since they can be designed any way the user wants, which can fit any person’s sense of style. In fact, this project has the potential to change fashion and technology as we know it! With tattoos becoming increasingly popular, connecting them to modern day technology would lead to newer innovations in the future that has the potential to benefit our lives.


Catherine DeGroot

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